Viola Davis is officially queen of the universe! Everyone is talking about her incredible Emmy acceptance speech. The How to Get Away with Murder actress made history on Sunday night when she became the first black woman to win an Emmy award for best actress in a drama. It's both incredible and sad that it took this long for a black woman to win an Emmy. Davis made sure to acknowledge this ongoing racial disparity within the media in her now legendary speech.
Though a few trolls and one bitter actress tried to diminish Davis' win, the award-winning actress' words touched the hearts of millions. There are so many reasons why Davis' speech is so important, but check out the top 5 below.
1. It's the truth. The obvious main reason is that it's simply the truth. For as long as the Emmys have been around, why did it take until 2015 for a black woman to win this award? Davis perfectly states, "You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there." It is time we stop skirting around the issue of race and visibility.
2. Solidarity. The spaces offered for women of color is often very limited. Diversity is largely unbalanced and most times there is really just room for one. Solidarity among women of color can be harder to maintain as we ascend the ladder of success due to our fight to thrive. Davis' shout-out to her fellow black actresses was the ultimate display of sisterhood. Though she said a few names, Davis shared her win and her moment with every black woman and girl in the world.
3. Inspiration. What a time to be alive! I am grateful for young women to have icons like Davis, Zendaya, Amandla Stenberg, and other incredible celebrity women who are openly conscious. Davis' image alone is absolutely inspiring. Here is a dark skin black woman sporting her natural teeny weeny afro accepting a Hollywood award and using her platform to address race issues!
4. Leverage. While the conversation of diversity as a whole is becoming more of a hot topic, for some reason people still shy away from acknowledging racial issues and white privilege. That bitter actress I mentioned earlier, Nancy Lee Grahn, is a perfect example of a person who fails to admit the obvious. In efforts to denounce a struggle she is unfamiliar with, Grahn claimed that Davis never faced discrimination and even went as far as to suggest black women problems = all women problems. The public backlash of Grahn and the praise of Davis' speech will hopefully give some perspective to those who still don't get the point.
5. It opens discussion for other spaces. Sometimes it takes the right moment and the right celebrity to amplify the voices of those who've been sharing the same sentiment all along. The line that unanimously made the most impact was, "The only thing that separates women of color from everyone else is opportunity." This message transcends Hollywood. There are so many women of color who can't break into a space simply because of the color of their skin, the texture of their hair, and the accent on their tongues. Many times in the creative field, a woman of color can only get her break by playing on her identity versus solely on her talent.
This post was originally posted on KazzleDazz.com. Check out the blog for more stories!